FEDERAL NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Jenny Kwan on Friday noted that Canada has admitted more temporary foreign workers than immigrants since 2006. Migrant workers are desperate to seek opportunities to better their lives and that of their families. As a result, they are often subjected to abuse and exploitation.
Kwan pointed out that recently, four foreign temporary workers had won the right to a class action against Mac’s and three immigration consultants / services (Overseas Immigration Services, Overseas Career and Consulting and Trident Immigration, companies controlled by Surrey resident Kuldeep Bansal) who allegedly charged the workers money to obtain jobs with Mac’s, only to arrive in Canada to find that most of these jobs did not exist. An access to information request revealed that LMOs were issued for 486 positions with Mac’s through these immigration consultants companies between 2012 and early 2014.
Charles Gordon, one of the lawyers representing the workers, said: “Victims of this scheme were recruited in job fairs held in Dubai. They paid around $8,000 in fees in exchange for the promise of a job in Canada. Typically, they paid $2,000, often in cash, in Dubai, to get the process started, and then once they received an employment offer and an LMO, they had to wire another $6,000 before Overseas would provide them the documents allowing them come to Canada.”
Kwan said: “It is disturbing to learn that potentially hundreds of temporary foreign workers were victimized where people were duped on a false promise and treated as commodities that can be shipped into Canada, used up, and discarded. What’s even more disturbing is that this practice is continuing.”
“CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency] has supported a number of victims of Overseas in obtaining temporary resident permits while they have conducted an investigation into Bansal and Overseas. We understand that CBSA has been waiting for some time for approval of charges”, added Gordon.
Kwan pointed out that in June 2017, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration studied the issue of crooked consultants and tabled an unanimous report calling for an end to a self-regulatory system, direct action to protect applicants and resources for investigations. Unfortunately the recommendations have not been acted on.
“Hundreds of migrant workers were exploited and this class action is to seek justice and compensation for the victims. People who are or know victims of these scams could contact our law firm for assistance,” said Kirby Smith, another lawyer representing the workers in this case.
“The current system we have is broken. The approach of relying on the temporary workforce is short sighted. We cannot allow this exploitative practice to continue. It is time to take action. It’s time to fully embrace the principle that if you are good enough to work, you are good enough to stay,” said Kwan.